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Keywords:

  • child development;
  • risk tolerance;
  • risky play

Abstract

Background

A modicum of everyday risk provides opportunities for children to extend the limits of their competence. However, increasingly negative perceptions of risk have led to risk-averse behaviours in adults, including severely restricting children's play. The degree to which risk in play is tolerated by adults impacts on the lives and experiences of children. However, no measure of adult tolerance to everyday risk exists. The purpose of this study was to develop a valid and reliable instrument examining adults’ tolerances of risk during children's play.

Methods

A 31-item survey of risk tolerance was developed based on a Norwegian model of risky play; 100 parents and teachers of children aged 3 to 13 years completed the instrument. Data were subjected to Rasch analysis. Psychometric properties of the data were examined.

Results

Iterative analyses produced an instrument with goodness of fit statistics in the acceptable range, a logical item hierarchy, person separation index >2 and reliability index of 0.87. There was a strong positive relationship between participants’ self-perceived risk tolerance and scores on the instrument, and between the age of the child and scores on the instrument.

Conclusions

The Tolerance of Risk in Play Scale (TRiPS) yields valid and reliable data for measuring the success of interventions to change adults’ everyday risk beliefs, and for exploring the impact of adults’ risk tolerance on children's play and development.